Fast in vivo high-resolution diffusion MRI of the human cervical spinal cord microstructure

René Labounek, Jan Valošek, Jakub Zimolka, Zuzana Piskořová, Tomáš Horák, Alena Svátková, Petr Bednařík, Pavel Hok, Lubomír Vojtíšek, Petr Hluštík, Josef Bednařík, Christophe Lenglet

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

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Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dMRI) is a widely-utilized method for assessment of microstructural properties in the central nervous system i.e., the brain and spinal cord (SC). In the SC, almost all previous human studies utilized Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), which cannot accurately model areas where white matter (WM) pathways cross or diverge. While High Angular Diffusion Resolution Imaging (HARDI) can overcome some of these limitations, longer acquisition times critically limit its applicability to clinical human studies. In addition, previous human HARDI studies have used limited spatial resolution, with typically a few slices and voxel size ~1 × 1 × 5 mm3 being acquired in tens of minutes. Thus, we have optimized a novel fast HARDI protocol that allows collecting dMRI data at high angular and spatial resolutions in clinically-feasible time. Our data was acquired, using a 3T Siemens Prisma scanner, in less than 9 min. It has a total of 75 diffusion-weighted volumes and high spatial resolution of 0.67 × 0.67 × 3 mm3 (after interpolation in Fourier space) covering the cervical segments C4–C6. Our preliminary results demonstrate applicability of our technique in healthy individuals with good correspondence between low fractional anisotropy (FA) gray matter areas from the dMRI scans, and the same regions delineated on T2-weighted MR images with spatial resolution of 0.35 × 0.35 × 2.5 mm3. Our data also allows the detection of crossing fibers that were previously shown in vivo only in animal studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-7
Number of pages5
JournalIFMBE Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019
EventWorld Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, WC 2018 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: Jun 3 2018Jun 8 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to express many thanks to Julien Cohen-Adad from Polytechnique Montr?al in Canada for his help and insightful advice with optimal Spinal Cord Toolbox settings. We acknowledge the core facility Multimodal and Functional Imaging Laboratory, institution Masaryk University, CEITEC supported by the MEYS CR (LM2015062 Czech-BioImaging); special thanks to Veronika Fab?kov? and Petr Kudlicka. This research was supported and funded by the Czech Health Research Council grants n. NV18-04-00159, NV16-30210A and NV17-29452A, and by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic project for conceptual development in research organizations, ref. 65269705 (University Hospital, Brno, Czech Republic). C.L. is partly supported by NIH grant P41 EB015894. Computational resources were supplied by the MEYS CR under the Projects CESNET (Project No. LM2015042) and CERIT-Scientific Cloud (Project No. LM2015085).

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019.


  • Cervical spinal cord
  • Diffusion MRI
  • High-resolution imaging

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) tags

  • BFC


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